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How to Create Goals that Really Matter

In our work with leaders, the theme of goal clarity comes up all the time. Goals, at their best, are the fuel in the engine. In times of uncertainty and constant change, goals can become a source of deep frustration and dissatisfaction, if not crafted in a meaningful way.

Creating great goals is a learnt skill. Here is a formula you can use to begin crafting goals that will build you up and drive you and your teams forward.

Leader Goals

Let's start by creating a solid foundation. For your 'leader goals' to feel as solid as an oak tree, they need to have strong roots. This stems from understanding who you are, and why you do what you do. This stems from having a deep understanding of the values that guide you.

Can you articulate what being a leader means to you in a statement? When you have a dirty draft, use the '5 Whys' to uncover the values that impact this vision most. e.g. why is x important, and why is 'that' important... From here, you will be able to formulate your vision statement by including the impact you want to make as a leader on the organisation/ department/ division etc...

E.g. As a leader, I will focus my energy on building capability and capacity for those I lead. I believe that creating structures that increase the autonomy and influence people have creates a positive work culture, and that happy people produce better, more sustainable results. Our people are our competitive advantage. They need support and enablement to be their best.

Strategic Goals

These describe the critical enablers that will give you direction and focus. The language you use for these matters, as these will become part of your team's everyday language. Ask: What needs to happen for me to realise my leader goals?

  • As succinctly as possible, write 2 to 5 directional goals

  • For each, define the challenge or need they satisfy

  • What will be the prize and how will success be measured?

E.g. Improve the unit's stakeholder relationships and level of influence we have on decision making. This will enable us to garner support and build capacity for high-value initiatives we can deliver on that will make a big difference.

Tactical Goals

These represent the milestones needed to deliver on your strategic goals. Each Tactical goal must clearly articulate what needs to happen, to achieve...ABC. The more specific you can be, the more likely you and your team are to achieve.

E.g. Kick-off project x by ...,

Ensuring we have ABCD in place in order to deliver X by... Y by... Z by...


The Rewards

Writing meaningful goals requires a bit of focus and intentionality. However, the rewards are plentiful. Top of the list is a greater sense of control, motivation and job satisfaction. When our purpose is clear and our actions have meaning, our authentic leadership approach acts as the north star. Decisions come easier, change is a source of excitement, and our relationships are more positive.

In turn, the impact on culture is tenfold. Those around you feel more optimistic and empowered. They have better conversations with colleagues and have more time and patience with family and friends. The cycle of positive emotions fuels all parts of life.

What are you waiting for? ...have a go!

If you get stuck, you might benefit from a third party perspective. We have a team of skills executive coaches who can help. View Coach Profiles


Dayna Caceres

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